To Wear a Mask or Not to Wear a Mask

Florida doesn’t require its residents to wear masks, but plenty of cities and counties across the state do.

In Miami, police will issue $50 fines to those caught in public without a mask. However, to ticket individuals for not wearing a mask remains to be the step not taken.

(Here’s a county-by-county Mask Rules)

Enforcement has become tricky, with private citizens sometimes taking matters in their own hands. The news is full of reports of confrontations involving private citizens admonishing friends, neighbors and strangers for not wearing a mask or following social distancing rules.

In many cases, enforcement is often up to businesses to ask customers to don a mask. If a business is caught not following the rules, they could be forced to close. The business could even face employee lawsuits for not providing a safe workplace. Companies like Amazon and McDonald’s are currently fighting similar lawsuits filed by their employees.

“While social distancing guidelines are imposed by state and local governments, it’s often left up to restaurants and stores to enforce them, and if they don’t they can face lawsuits,” attorney Kelly DuFord told NPR.

Many anti-mask advocates say they can’t wear a facial covering because of a disability.

According to Doron Dorfmann, a Syracuse University law professor who specializes in disability law, that argument might just hold up.

“There may be legitimate disabilities that would prevent someone from wearing a mask: someone with autism who has sensory issues, for example, or someone with a respiratory problem for which a mask would make breathing difficult,” Dorfman told Syracuse.com. “Store managers must be cautious in questioning anyone who says they have a disability.”

Others claim wearing a mask violates their constitutional rights. That argument might not hold up in court.

The American Bar Association says, “The 10th Amendment, which gives states all powers not specifically given to the federal government, allows them the authority to take public health emergency actions, such as setting quarantines and business restrictions.”

The law about wearing a mask can be murky. But science is increasingly clear about the benefits of wearing a mask and the dangers if you don’t.

The CDC issued a report saying that masks make a difference and urge the U.S. public to heed their warning.

“The science shows face masks work both to protect the wearer and to protect others from coronavirus, and everyone needs to wear one when around other people in public,” as reported on CNN.com.

A survey by the CDC suggests that more than 75 percent of American adults wear face coverings when in public.

CDC Director Robert Redfield recently said that the coronavirus could be controlled in the United States within a month or two if everyone wore masks.

“I think if we could get everybody to wear a mask right now I really do think over the next four, six, eight weeks we could bring this epidemic under control,” Redfield said.

Mask Coverage
Confrontations Over Face Masks, USA Today
Walmart, Kroger to Start Requiring U.S. Customers to Wear Masks
Georgia Governor Forbids Cities, Counties from Requiring Masks